This blog post has a DARK SECRET…

open book 17

ABOUT A MYSTERIOUS PAST…

FULL OF FORBIDDEN DANGERS……

AND SHOCKING BETRAYALS………………….

Are you intrigued???

I’m not.

This is yet another pet peeve of mine when it comes to back-of-book summaries. Last month I vented about blurbs that describe women as beautiful and nothing else (“Excuse me, my characterization is UP HERE”) so today I wanted to groan about vague and overused plot descriptions.

I don’t have enough fingers or toes or abacuses on which to count how many times I’ve seen these painfully generic blurbs! And it’s almost always those exact phrases too. Dark secret. Mysterious past. Forbidden something-or-other. Sometimes they’re swapped around a little: Forbidden secret. Dark past. Etc etc.

What I’m assuming the author/publisher is hoping for is that these generalities will conjure an air of ~mystique~ which will prompt readers to open the book and find out what the Big Darkity Dark Secret is. But because they’re used SO OFTEN, they end up just sounding empty.

I don’t know about you, but I need specifics. I need something concrete for my mind to latch onto and go, “Oooh, that’s interesting.” Without specifics, it just sounds like every other book out there.

“But telling the secret on the back cover will spoil the story!”

True, it’ll take some crafty finagling. But I’m positive there are hints you could drop that are tangible enough to illicit curiosity, without spoiling the whole shebang. That finagling is worth the extra work, because otherwise your story might not get read at all, which would be such a shame.

Or maybe I’m the only one bothered by this. Am I? I would think this would frustrate most readers, but still I see these vague descriptions allllllllllll the time.

What do you guys think?

~ Noel

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9 thoughts on “This blog post has a DARK SECRET…

  1. I roll my eyes at it, but it’s not usually enough to put me off a book, as I feel it’s almost the standard these days anyway. It’s as if the publishers feel the best way to sell a book is to make it sound as generic as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well it’s just a theory, but I think the reason people like dan brown and James Patterson are so popular and successful is because they’re easy to read and maybe it makes to a publisher that the more they can make a book sound along those sorts of lines, even if it isn’t particularly, then the more Vance it has if success. Maybe possibly.

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  2. You’re right, Noel. Way too generic on the blurbs. I like to know the premise, maybe a hint or two about the big reveal, before choosing a book. If you word it carefully, you can give away enough without giving away everything. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read a book while I was on holiday called Blacklands by Belinda Bauer and I think what drew me to it was the complete lack of generic crap on the back cover. It has an excerpt from a letter in childish handwriting and the line (which appears in the book itself) “He was only twelve, he reasoned; he couldn’t be expected to get stuff like writing to serial killers right first time.” How could I not read it after that?! Had there been something generic on the back page I’m sure I would have put it back and missed out on a very interesting debut novel. If I ever write a novel my aim is to make it unblurbable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh, I’m curious now! I’ll have to look that up. Yeah, vague blurbs are a real detriment because I’m sure there are awesome books out there that I might miss out on because they don’t have good blurbs. Sometimes I wonder if I’m being unfair, because it’s the details and characters and writing that make a story great, even if the general idea is, well, general. But I HAVE to narrow down my to-read list SOMEHOW…

      Liked by 1 person

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